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I recently found out I have something in common with Camila Mendes. Both of our first designer handbag purchases were from Coach. I can’t quite put into words the pride I felt, 14 years old and dangling a Coach wristlet on my arm, but it must have been something between I’m-a-fashion-icon and wow-I’m-so-grown-now. The brand took a step back for a while as it shed some heavy old layers and rebuilt itself into its butterfly years, resulting in them having arguably one of the most impressive comebacks in the last decade.
This can all be attributed to Creative Director Stuart Vevers, who took over the company exactly a decade ago and is celebrating his ten-year anniversary this year. Vevers, who has an impressive resume filled with big luxury name brands like Loewe and Mulberry, took his eye for design and expertise on quality goods and set Coach on a fast track to success, winning it a spot on our list of favorite purse brands. While staying true to the brand’s roots in leather goods, he simultaneously launched Coach’s first-ever ready-to-wear collection in 2014 — an effort that has only become more and more successful with each runway show.
To celebrate drool-worthy bags and successful rebrandings, we wanted to highlight some of Coach’s most sought-after bags and clothes. I was invited into their showroom as I assessed their entire collection, carefully reviewing bags and shoes as I went. These are the Coach items I was most reluctant to put back down again.
Best Overall: Coach Tabby 26 Leather Crossbody Bag
What We Love: You get both a shoulder and a crossbody strap.
What We Don’t Love: Because of the divider in the center of the bag, you can’t fit larger items in comfortably.
The Tabby Shoulder Bag is probably one of the most universally loved Coach bags. Not only does it carry the revival of Coach on its shoulders (pun intended), but celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Camila Mendes consider it their Coach favorites. It can be worn across the body with its 21-inch strap or over the shoulder with the seven-inch strap, both of which can be detached and attached as you please. The exterior features a rich genuine pebbled leather, which in my hand, felt impressively luxurious. Despite the sturdy makeup, it didn’t feel heavy on its own — I would feel comfortable stuffing this to the brim and not fear it would weigh me down.
When I opened the front flap, I was met with a writing stamped in gold that read “The Tabby Bag, Genuine Pebbled Leather,” which I thought was an elevated design detail. The interior had a super soft suede lining, fit to keep all my precious items scratch-free. There are three main compartments: a slit pocket on the front, and two open pockets divided by a middle zipped compartment. It’s ideal for anyone who likes to keep their phones, wallets, AirPods, and keys separated, but anyone looking for a big open space might feel a little restricted by the middle divider.
Price at time of publish: $450
Material: Pebbled leather | Colors: 3 | Size: 10.25” x 6” x 3.25”
Best Shoulder Bag: Coach Pillow Tabby Shoulder Bag 26
What We Love: It’s so comfortable you could literally use it as a pillow.
What We Don’t Love: Its plushness takes up some of the space from the interior of the bag.
When Coach came out with their line of pillow bags, I knew the game had been changed forever. Of course, it was an immediate hit amongst fashion girlies on TikTok, thanks to its fun and plush design. Even InStyle editors couldn’t get enough of the soft bag that’s equal parts functional as it is cute. They’re available in this midsize shoulder bag, as well as in a mini crossover bag, a quilted bag, and various other styles. Much like our last option, this bag can be worn across the body and over the shoulder thanks to their two strap length options.
I quickly learned why the bag was named “Pillow” after throwing the mini version over my shoulder — it’s truly as cloudlike as one, making me want to take it on all my flights to use it as a headrest against the oval window. Similar to the original Tabby, it has three different compartments, but instead of the slip pocket being in the front, it’s stitched into the interior back lining. I will say that the plushness takes up some of the space reserved for storing your items. Tucked underneath the armpit, it also feels quite chunky. It can still fit a plethora of items, but perhaps one or two less than the original Tabby bag.
Price at time of publish: $550
Material: Leather | Colors: 3 | Size: 10.5” x 5.75” x 3”
Best Work Bag: Coach Rae Tote in Colorblock
What We Love: It comes with a detachable zippered pouch.
What We Don’t Love: It’s a little heavy.
Strolling through Coach’s showroom, my eyes were immediately lured in by this Rae Tote. I diverged from the Coach rep and made a bee-line towards this bag, firing questions at her as if she wasn’t trying to show me something else. It was evident, by touch and sight, how superior the leather used in this bag was. The exterior featured a smooth and thick glove-tanned leather, while the interior was lined with a delicious suede. The tasteful handles were sturdy, sewn in with cute contrasting white stitching, but if you wanted to rest it on your shoulders, it comes with a long strap as well.
There was tons of space in the interior — I was convinced there was nothing that couldn’t fit into this bag be it laptops, iPads, notebooks, water bottles, sweaters, and even spare shoes, making it perfect for the office and even long weekend trips. One of the sides is lined with two slit pockets, where I would store my phone and cardholder for easy access. The bag also comes with a detachable zippered pouch, stamped with Coach’s iconic tag. The only con? The bag is a little heavy already on its own, due to the substantial leather. Conversely, it will last decades, no matter how much weight you make it carry.
Price at time of publish: $750
Material: Glovetanned leather | Colors: 4 | Size: 13.5” x 11.5” x 5.5”
Best Crossbody: Coach Rogue 25 in Regenerative Leather
What We Love: There’s tons of space, a zipper for safety, and a scratch-friendly exterior, making this an ideal travel bag.
What We Don’t Love: All of the color options are not displayed on one page, so you have to dig around a little to find them.
Not only is the Rogue 25 bag a fantastic crossbody bag, but an ideal travel bag as well. This is the kind of bag I’d want to schlepp around Europe, because it’s stylish, rich with space, and has a zippered closure for safety. The pebbled leather is more forgiving to wear and tear, and the many straps allow for various ways to carry and style the bag.
There are three compartments in this bag, and the main one features a zipper that goes all the way around and down the sides. Once zipped open, you’ll be met with a generous amount of space that’s lined with suede leather, to keep your cameras and valuables safe and scratch-free. To the left and right of this main compartment are two slit pockets. These aren’t your average slit pocket, however, as they’re big enough to even conceal a wallet, a small notebook, little iPad and more. This mag is a fantastic organizational bag while giving enough space to hold absolutely all your needs. Although it comes in a variety of colors, you have to dig through their site a little to find them.
Price at time of publish: $650
Material: Regenerative leather | Colors: 10 | Size: 9.75” x 7.75” x 5.5”
Best Belt Bag: Coach Bandit Belt Bag
What We Love: The front securely clasps close, ensuring everything is safely tucked away.
What We Don’t Love: You can only fit your essentials in here.
Had I known Coach had a line of to-die-for belt bags, I would have included them in our roundup of best belt bags and given it five stars across the board. Better late than never, I’m here to present to you this stylish belt bag, that’s definitely not your classic 90’s mom aesthetic. The sleek and smooth leather helps to elevate any outfit, whether you want to tie it around your waist over a white dress, throw it across the chest, or literally loop it in your jean belt loops.
The front flap clips closed, keeping everything securely tucked in. There are two compartments in the interior, one more slim than the other, that can only carry your essentials. Think phone, wallet, keys, AirPods, and chapstick. Will it hold anything else? Likely not, as it is quite compact, but if you’re traveling light you don’t really need more than those five items.
Price at time of publish: $350
Material: Refined calf leather | Colors: 4 | Size: 7.5” x 4.5” x 1.75”
Best Top Handle: Coach Willis Top Handle 18
What We Love: It’s a revived vintage style that will remain beautiful for decades to come.
What We Don’t Love: The color options are limited to green and white.
Royalty, whether American (yes I’m talking about Jennifer Lopez) or British (that’s you Kate Middleton) seem to love the top handle bag. When Lopez was spotted carrying the Willis Top Handle purse in black, I knew I needed to add it to this list. This endearing little bag is part of The Coach Originals line, which are revived classics set to stay in style for decades to come. The vintage-inspired look steers away from their more recent designs while staying true to Coach’s brand origins.
When you want to relax your fingers, you can drape the bag over your shoulders, thanks to the additional strap. The front flap is closed via a twisted buckle, which when opened, reveals a pocket slip, a big open space, and a zippered back pocket. On the back exterior, there’s yet another little slip pocket for any loose bits and bobs. Although she may look small, I was able to fit all my everyday needs in there, comfortably. Airpods, phone, wallet, lip gloss, keys, and little notepad made it in there and got to snuggling side by side. She’s so cute, that I only wish there were more color options to choose from.
Price at time of publish: $350
Material: Leather | Colors: 2 | Size: 7” x 6.5” x 3”
Best Wallet: Coach Billfold Wallet
What We Love: Despite the small size, there are ample amounts of space to store all your money.
What We Don’t Love: The luxuriously soft calf leather may show scratches easily.
We’ve expressed how much we love Coach wallets in the past, given their cute patchwork designs and functional construction. For this story, I wanted to highlight a more subtle everyday piece as our best wallet choice. The Billfold Wallet is the perfect size, sliding into a back pocket effortlessly and squeezing into small bags without taking up too much space. Still, there are ample amounts of slots for cards (six to be exact), a coin pouch with a divider, and a bill holder — what more can you ask for in a compact wallet?
Much like all of Coach’s accessories, this wallet is made of quality leather (in this case, smooth calf leather), which feels soft and luxurious. That being said, it may show scratches pretty quickly if you don’t take good care of it. At least all that’s inside will remain safe, thanks to both the zip and button closures.
Price at time of publish: $150
Material: Calf leather | Colors: 2 | Size: 4.25” x 3.75” x 0.5”
Best Weekender: Coach Gotham Duffle
What We Love: It’s big enough for a five-day weekender.
What We Don’t Love: It’s almost entirely made of leather, which means it’s a bit heavy.
This duffel bag has a unisex appeal, so both you and your partner can share the large weekender on your road trips. Holding this in my hands, I was very impressed with the stitching and sturdiness of the bag. It’s quite large, and the exterior is made of full leather, while the interior is lined with a soft fabric. This does make it a little heavy but rest assured, it will survive any kind of rummaging around and never give out on you.
The top zipper opens up completely into a wide empty space. I’m convinced you can easily pack for a five-day trip without ever needing to repeat an outfit. On one side, there’s a zippered slit pocket to separate any delicates, while on the other there are three slip pockets to slide in your phone or wallet for easy access. And of course, you can carry it on the top handle or sling it over your shoulders using the thick woven strap.
Price at time of publish: $695
Material: Leather | Colors: 2 | Size: 19.75” x 11.5” x 9”
Best Jacket: Coach Moto Jacket
What We Love: The lamb leather isn’t too heavy while feeling extremely luxurious.
What We Don’t Love: You have to get it cleaned by a leather specialist.
If there ever was a perfect leather jacket, it would be this Moto Jacket from Coach. Everything about it, from the laid-back fit, the ultra-luxurious lamb leather, and the tastefully placed zippers and pockets, makes this the model leather jacket. All other jackets can only aspire to be as flawless as this piece.
Wearing this jacket instantly made me feel 50 times more high-end. The lamb leather felt equal parts soft and significant, allowing for easy movement and proper protection. I would feel comfortable wearing this from spring to fall, given how warm yet lightweight it was. The fit was neither too boxy nor too constricting either, making it more versatile for everyday wear. It’s a bit of a steep price for a jacket, but given the quality material and the everlasting style, you’re never going to outgrow the look.
Price at time of publish: $1,250
Material: Lamb leather | Colors: 1 | Size: XS–XL
Best Loafer: Coach Leah Loafer
What We Love: They cover a good chunk of your foot so you can get away with wearing ankle socks underneath.
What We Don’t Love: They’re a little narrow, so wide feet might have to endure a break-in period.
Loafers are another one of those styles that remain relevant no matter the year. Coach’s Leah Loafer is a chunky yet minimalist shoe with a 1.75-inch lug sole platform. The upper is entirely made out of leather, and the sole has rubber traction on it for good grip.
My pet peeve with loafers is that they tend to take a while to break in before getting comfortable, but that wasn’t the case with these. As soon as I slipped my foot in, I was welcomed into a comfortable embrace, fitting perfectly as if it was made for me. The sleek, semi-shiny surface covered a good chunk of my upper foot, so it wouldn’t look awkward if I were to wear any ankle socks with it.
I did register that they were ever-so-slightly narrow, which may become an issue for women with wide feet. However, leather tends to stretch and mold around you, so I recommend being patient through the break-in period.
Price at time of publish: $195
Material: Leather, rubber | Colors: 5 | Size: 5–11
Best Heels: Coach Kellie Sandal
What We Love: They are incredibly comfortable, thanks to the pillowy top.
What We Don’t Love: There are no buckles of any sort to strap you in safely.
The Kellie Sandal heel drew me in almost instantly with its beauty, but it was how incredibly comfortable it was that made me fall in deep love. They come in a few iterations — puffy and high-heeled, like in this picture, or slim and kitten-heeled. There’s even a flat sandal version, which I’m already envisioning wearing at a resort-life beach vacation.
Sticking to this version for now, I loved how the leather upper was properly cushioned, softening every step I took. Never did it dig uncomfortably, letting me know that despite the 3.5-inch heel, I could wear this the whole day without any quarrels. If you look closely, you’ll notice the knotted design of the top actually discretely hides the letter “C”, subtly hinting at the brand name. I don’t know about you, but I prefer this kind of less-obvious branding, feeding into the quiet luxury game. Just remember that these are slip-ons, and there are no buckles of any sort to keep you safely strapped in the shoe.
Price at time of publish: $98
Material: Leather | Colors: 5 | Size: 5–11
Our Testing Process
In order to find the best Coach products, writer Bianca Kratky went to visit their flagship store on 5th Ave, Manhattan, where the Coach team kindly met with her to walk through their collection. With the entire roster of Coach bags and ready to wear items in front of her, she was able to inspect each individual piece before selecting the top 11 that suited a variety of occasions and people. Kratky handled every item mentioned in this article herself, taking note of the weight and feel of each bag, even counting how many pockets there were and how practical each bag would be in real life.
What to Keep in Mind
Inspecting one bag after another, the number one thing that stood out to me was how high-quality the leather on each bag felt. Far more impressive than the Coach I remembered from my high school days, there was a very clear skill in the artistry. The leather used in each bag varied — some were made of calf leather, like the Bandit Belt Bag and Billfold Wallet, which felt smooth and soft, albeit thick and sturdy. Meanwhile the Moto Jacket was stitched together with lamb leather, a texture I can only describe as supple yet lightweight. Coach makes use of more sustainable leather options as well, like regenerative leather, which was used in the Rogue 25 in Regenerative Leather. From the Rae Tote in Colorblock to the Willis Top Handle 18, there was no question that the leather professionals have spent decades perfecting their craftsmanship to create some of the finest leather bags I personally have ever touched.
Do you like to throw everything into a black hole, or do you prefer keeping your phone separate from your keys and away from your wallet. Do you need a zipped pocket to ensure valuables don’t fall out? Or would you rather a slip pocket for easy phone access. Take these questions into consideration as you shop for your new Coach bag. I found that while the Tabby Shoulder Bag 26 looked big from the outside, the interior had a pocket divider that made storing bigger items, like a camera, more difficult (as much as I love how neat and organized everything looked next to each other). Meanwhile, the Rae Tote in Colorblock features one big open space fit to carry even a pair of shoes and a sweater. While there is a detachable zippered pouch, there is nothing available to properly close the bag or ensure valuables don’t slip out. The Rogue 25 in Regenerative Leather balanced expertly between spacious and compartmentalized, which may be the way to go for everyday usage.
If the bag you want isn’t in the exact size you like, take a look around Coach’s website as they frequently make the same bag in different sizes. The most famous of them all, the Tabby Shoulder Bag 26, comes in a slightly smaller version and a mini wristlet version. The same goes for the Pillow Tabby Shoulder Bag. Consider whether you’re looking for an everyday bag, or something to take with you on your travels (may I recommend the Rogue 25 in Regenerative Leather if so). For more of an accessory piece, something small like the Bandit Belt Bag fits just the essentials while making a cute statement on your outfit.
Your Questions, Answered
Is Coach a luxury brand?
Yes, Coach is an American luxury fashion house founded in New York City in 1941. What started as a hand-crafted leather goods company quickly grew into a power-house luxury brand, fearlessly incorporating color and quirky designs into their high-end leather pieces. Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, Lil Nas X, and Camila Mendes are just a few of the celebrities who have proudly represented the brand, solidifying its position as one of the most sought-after luxury brands in the market.
Who is the designer for Coach?
In 2013, Stuart Vevers joined the Coach team as their Creative Director, after holding design roles at Bottega Veneta, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, and Loewe. Vevers, who is originally from the United Kingdom, molded his interests in pop culture and leather craftsmanship to catapult Coach into success. His expressive designs have won Coach the stamp of approval from Gen Z, going viral on TikTok on multiple occasions. In 2017, Vevers won the Accessory Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Why Shop With Us
Bianca Kratky is a commerce writer with almost three years of experience covering fashion and beauty stories. In order to write this story, she personally met with the team at Coach at their flagship store on 5th Avenue, NYC, to talk about the designs and history of Coach. After inspecting their collection, she individually picked the best Coach bags and ready-to-wear pieces to feature in this story.
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Read the original article on InStyle.